Jefferson Surgical Solutions

Resilience is defined as the “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness”. Psychologists define resilience as the ability to adapt well in the face of trauma, tragedy, adversity or significant sources of stress. While medical school, nursing school and post-graduate training all require some measure of adaptability for learners, little of the past has prepared us for 2020: the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn, multiple episodes of racial injustice and a toxic political environment.

The response of Jefferson Health and Jefferson Surgery this past year has been nothing short of miraculous. With the initial COVID-19 surge in the spring of 2020 we quickly adapted to a new normal. N95 masks. Face shields. COVID-19 testing. We were nimble enough to resume our full OR schedules in a few short months. Our ORs were quite busy. Our ICUs were at or near capacity. What we were no longer doing as face-to-face patient encounters in the office setting we replaced with telehealth visits. To quote Jodi Picoult from My Sister’s Keeper: “The human capacity for burden is like bamboo – far more flexible that you would ever believe at first glance.”

I have never been more proud of Jefferson Surgery than I was this year. The entire Department deserves huge KUDOs. We have cared for large numbers of very ill patients (some with COVID-19); we have seen an increased volume of trauma patients; our cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery and transplant surgery teams have been very busy; and our cancer patient population has been maintained. A departing thought, from Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going”. We have kept going!